The New Guy Is Already out at J. Crew

Well that didn’t last long. After roughly 16 months on the job, new J. Crew CEO, James Brett is parting ways with the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The decision was made following a series of “disagreements with the company’s longtime leader, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, about strategy and board concerns about his spending plans.” Apparently, among other things, there was a “heated board meeting in which members clashed with Mr. Brett over his decision to start a new a brand called Nevereven.” Kinda siding with the board on that one.

While the struggling company had seen marginal sales improvements since Brett’s hiring, the story noted that Drexler “didn’t agree with [Brett’s] decisions to sell some apparel on [Amazon],” nor was he too keen on the decision to expand the company’s assortment into plus-size and downmarket territory (a take that is so wincingly on-brand it should probably be wearing a blazer with dark-wash denim).

Both Brett — who came from West Elm — and J. Crew declined to respond to comment requests from the Journal, but the company said “the departure was by mutual agreement,” and Brett, via a release, said that he and the Drexler-led board were “‘unable to bridge [their] beliefs’ on the company’s strategy.”

That strategy probably needs to solidify soon. As the story noted, “the unprofitable company… is carrying about $1.7 billion of debt” and can’t seem to turn around sales figures, despite trying basically every tactic in the retail playbook.

In Brett’s absence, the Journal reported that his “duties would be assumed by four current executives,” who will form an “Office of the CEO” while the board establishes “a permanent management structure.”

In other words, things aren’t looking good.

You can read more about it at The Wall Street Journal.

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  • JWolf

    But where am I going to get my ill fitting button down oxfords??!! Groan

  • Kwame Phillips-Solomon

    I wonder what his exit package looks like?